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Abide 5 – Why We Need To Hear God’s Voice  

Day 1 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

In Abide 5, you’ll look at three powerful reasons that highlight why you need to hear God’s voice. Remember that this is an exciting part of your spiritual inheritance! Some people have experienced the blessing of growing up in a family full of joy, peace, and encouragement. However, when you become a child of God, the potential to receive these same things and much more is now possible! So, why do you need to hear God’s voice?  

So That Christ Can Function as Our Lord & King  

God is fully establishing his kingdom on earth – a kingdom that has its own ways, plans, enemy, and weapons. This is not an exaggeration at all! Yes, you are child of God, but also a soldier (see 2 Timothy 2:4). If you have grown up in a society that believes only in what it sees, this can be hard to grasp. But even if you think about what the world is like, what is “seen” gives you hints about what is happening in the “unseen.” There is a battle going on, including for lives!  

Jesus said, Matthew 11:12 (NIV) From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. And Peter counsels,

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  

The enemy, the devil, is looking for people to devour! And what does fighting against his attacks require? What does being an effective soldier in the kingdom involve? Much communication! (just like in any war). You will need strategies and plans – which comes from hearing God’s voice. God has much wisdom and can see things that you can’t. Are you humble enough to admit this? Here is how the prophet Isaiah described it,

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  

Example: David & the Philistines David knew these things about God, which is why he went to listen for the Lord’s strategies to fight his enemies.

For example, 2 Samuel 5:19 (ESV) And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”   Eventually, the Philistines returned and David inquired again. This time the Lord gave David a different strategy,

2 Samuel 5:23 (ESV) And when David inquired of the LORD, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees.” The need for direction from God was just as strong for the people of God in the New Testament, as it is for followers of the Way today. What purpose has God given you? To expand his kingdom! May you keep growing in this, as you serve the King!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What is a reason for hearing God, the reason shared today?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. What is a battle you’re facing right now? Write down a brief description of it.

2. Use conversational prayer (see Abide 4) to seek God’s strategy for you in the middle of this battle. Some questions you could ask:

• “Father, do I have anything that I need to confess about this situation?”

• “God, what is your perspective about this situation? How do you want to be King and Lord?”

• “Are there any steps that I need to take?”

3. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20.

4. Memorize 1 Peter 5:8.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 9:1-8.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 2 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

A follower of the Way needs to hear God to be able to understand the Bible. They also listen to him so that he can be their Lord and King. A second reason is so that God can be their Father in a very real way. Are you ready to think about this incredible gift?   So That God Can Be Our Father in a Very Real Way  

God called these people his friends: Abraham (Isaiah 41:8); Moses (Exodus 33:11); his disciples (John 15:14-15). Yet Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer that the relationship goes even deeper - God is also called your Father!! As a believer, you are clearly God’s child (Romans 8:15).  

Of course, this is not meant to be something that is, “in title only.” God wants to have a relationship with you as a Father. Or as John describes it, John 17:3 (NIV) Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.   Of course, without communication you cannot have a healthy, growing relationship; e.g. you cannot have a good marriage.

What is the single greatest problem that many fathers have? They’re distant and they don’t communicate with the kids. They don’t talk!  

But this is the whole point – your Father who is everywhere around you, isn’t distant at all! Neither is he silent! When you talk to him, he happily responds! And he also takes the initiative to speak if you’ll take the time to stop and listen.   What will your Father do for you as you speak to him?  

First: the good Father assures his children   This is how Paul describes it, Romans 8:16 (NIV) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Some followers of the Way can struggle with doubts such as, “do I really belong to God?” Or, “do my struggles disqualify me from being his child?” In such situations, a person needs what is called, “assurance of salvation.” They need to understand DEEP within that they are accepted by God. This kind of assurance is life-changing! And it is possible. And how do you (or anyone) receive this assurance? It happens through hearing God’s voice! Of course, God may use a Bible verse or verses to confirm that you are his child, but even here, it is still his voice speaking.  

Second: the heavenly Father warns his children of danger   In a dream God warned Joseph of danger to his family, and so they fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14). Such gracious direction from God to his kids still happens today! God does not change.

Here’s a story from one follower of the Way:   “We always pray for safety when we travel. One winter day, when our family was returning from a road trip after Christmas, it was snowing quite hard. On-coming traffic kicked up a lot of snow and visibility was close to zero. The family was sleeping as we had left quite early. A semi approached from the front kicking up a lot of snow. No problem. As the snow cleared another semi was following also kicking up snow. Then I saw a 3rd semi coming and a voice clearly spoke to me: ‘Pull on to the shoulder.’ I didn’t know God would speak to me so directly, but it saved us from certain injury or death.”  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What is a reason for hearing God, the reason shared today?

3. What does God as Father do for you – the 2 things shared today?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Can you think of a time when God assured you that you belonged to him? If yes, write down how this happened. If not, spend some time praying about this!

2. Can you think of a time when God warned you about something? If yes, write it down.

3. Spend some time in prayer, asking God – “is there anything that you want to warn me about now?” If a great fear rises up, bring this to him in conversational prayer.

4. Review 1 Peter 5:8.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 9:9-26.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 3 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) On Day Two, you learned (or were reminded) that hearing God’s voice allows for God to be your Father in a very real way. You also saw that as a Father, he can assure you and provide you with warnings. Today, two more things that God graciously does for you as your Father will be highlighted. He is so good!  

Third: the heavenly Father comforts his children   There are many verses in the Bible that richly describe God’s incredible comfort. For example, in one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he says, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles …

What a promise! Of course, as followers of the Way, you’ll need this kind of comfort to help you persevere! Here’s another story from someone who is on a journey with Jesus:  

“My brother died in a house fire on New Years Eve, 1978, at age 18. Before the funeral my mom was sitting in a corner of the living room grieving and disheartened about the loss of her son. Suddenly she heard a clear voice to her left: “Your son is OK. He’s with me.” She turned to her left to see who had spoken, but no one was sitting there. She looked to see if anyone else had noticed the voice, but no one had. But she was so comforted that she got up and began to serve coffee and food to others. Some wondered at the change in her countenance. Later, she called a prayer partner who had sent news of the tragedy down the prayer chain. Mom told her what she had experienced, and the woman replied: “We were praying that God would reveal to you if your son was with him. This is the answer to our prayer for you!”  

Fourth: the heavenly Father gives wisdom to his children   This is also a truth that the Bible declares over and over again – God will lovingly lead his children with wisdom and counsel!

Psalm 16:7 (ESV) I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. Again, a story can help one understand the importance of this – this time a story from Pastor Ray Duerksen – who founded Church Renewal, the ministry that has made these lessons:  

“My wife, Fran, and I differed on how to handle one of our kids, as a teenager. It was the first time that our marriage had been under such pressure. Fran’s idea was to loosen the grip and back off. I, on the other hand, felt we needed to enforce the parameters even more to get compliance. And so, we were at odds with each other over this. One day I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, ‘You and Fran are actually on the same page. You both want what’s best for your teen. You just disagree on how to get there.’ I told Fran what I had heard, and it had a big impact on our relationship. Soon after, I was driving with a young man (who was married) from Toronto to Montreal. He had gone through a very rebellious and difficult teen time. The Spirit suddenly spoke to me, ‘Ask him what would have helped him during that time: if his father relaxed the pressure or increased the pressure at that time.’ His response was mature. He said, ‘I was the problem. However, I think that it would have worked better if my father had backed off a bit right then.’ Something happened in my spirit and I knew the Lord had just spoken to me through this young man to give me the answer that would resolve the disagreement between Fran and I. As soon as I got to the hotel in Montreal, I called her and told her I knew what God wanted us to do - to back off. And that’s exactly what we did from that point on!”  

Because God is so good to his children, as a Father, he also: provides, disciplines, teaches, motivates, protects, encourages, forgives, etc. This intimate Father-child relationship isn’t abstract or an unattainable dream! It is offered to you with open, waiting arms. He really wants to relate as a Father to you. But for this fellowship, you need to hear his voice.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What does God as Father do for you – the 2 things shared today?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Can you think of a time when God comforted you? If yes, write down how this happened.

2. Can you think of a time when God gave you counsel? If yes, write it down.

3. Spend some time in prayer, asking God – “is there anything that you want to comfort me with right now?” If something arises, bring this to him in conversational prayer. May God bring you great comfort today!  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 9:27-38.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 4 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Today and tomorrow, you’ll look at another powerful reason for hearing God’s voice – so that he can be your life. One of the greatest cries of current times is, “I want to feel alive!” This is possible when a person abides in Jesus, which is closely connected to hearing his incredible voice.  

So That He Can Be Our Life – Part 1   Jesus taught that to be truly alive, you need to be sustained by him. He said, John 15:5 (ESV) I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. As a human, you have the capacity to draw on God. You were created for this! This is like a branch that draws on the vine, in order to flourish. There are words like this - flourish, taste, be fruitful, be renewed – that are found in the Bible. These words attempt to capture your heart.  

In Matthew, Jesus declared, Matthew 4:4 (NIV) "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" What did Jesus mean by this? Jesus was teaching that the material side (body) feeds on “bread.” (or tacos, or salad, or pizza!) But people also have an important immaterial part: the soul/spirit. This part is made up of the mind, emotions, and will. When you are absolutely filled with joy, hope, love, and peace, you can tackle almost any challenge! Is this not true? But when it’s lacking, you become paralyzed; everyone has experienced this as well! Of course, trying to feed your soul/spirit with food meant for the body doesn’t work. Many people who eat three good meals every day (or overeat) are still discouraged or in despair.  

Jesus then tells his listeners what the soul/spirit is to feed on: “on every word that comes from the mouth of God!” This isn’t just God’s words, as written down, but every continuing word of God! Here it is helpful to understand that there are at least two ways that, “word,” is used in the Bible.  

First, there is the, “logos” – the Greek term (the New Testament was written in Greek originally) that is talking about the words that you read in the Bible. It’s the “written down for all time” kind of word. When someone capitalizes “Word,” that’s usually what is being referred to.  

Second, there is the, “rhemas.” (another Greek word) These are specific words that God speaks to your soul/spirit in a moment. Consider, Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. The writer isn’t saying that the Bible (the “logos”) is sustaining creation – NO! Instead, it’s saying that Jesus sustains the world with his ongoing words and activity – his “rhemas.”  

In the same way, when his words (his rhemas) penetrate into your soul, they will bring not only life, but abundant life! That is, they are creative and re-create. Do you need some re-creating, some transformation? Well, Jesus still speaks! This makes all the difference in the world! Consider what else it says about God’s powerful words, Isaiah 55:11 (NIV) … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. In some mysterious way Jesus abides in the very words that proceed from him so that they accomplish and achieve what is spoken! Wow!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What is a reason for hearing God, the reason shared today?

3. Explain what the difference is between the logos and a rhema as best you can.  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Can you think of a time when God gave you a sense of abundant life through something he said to you? If yes, write down how this happened.

2. Ask God to show you someone who is really struggling in their faith right now. Ask God to give you something to share with them – a word, picture, thought or verse. In faith, pass this “word” on to them, trusting that God will use it to bring them life eventually. (sometimes the seeds take awhile to bear fruit!) Caution: do not share a correction or give them direction on what to do. 3. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8.  

Bible Reading

1. Practice using SMORP with Psalm 19:7-11. What does this passage say that God’s Word does for someone – i.e. his laws, statutes, precepts? His “rhema” words (words spoken to you) do the same.  

Day 5 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Today, you’ll have the opportunity to think a bit more about how hearing God’s voice can bring you life.  

So That He Can Be Our Life – Part 2  

The powerful word of God spoken to you can put courage into your life even if circumstances continue to rage out of control around you. This is a significant benefit of hearing God’s voice. Wow!  

For example, the apostle Paul had just been arrested in Jerusalem, and in the process had almost been torn into pieces by a violent mob. Wouldn’t that put fear into you? See what Jesus does for him, Acts 23:11 (NIV) The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."  

Paul couldn’t turn his fears into courage. However, when Jesus stood near him in prison, and spoke a word of courage into his heart, his fears subsided! God never intended for you to work up encouragement or to find it in something else. Jesus, who speaks, wants to BE your courage, your joy, your hope, your love, your peace – by speaking his living WORD into you! It’s one of the reasons that Jesus is called, the Word, in the Bible (see John 1:1).  

Now this is LIFE! It’s exactly what Jesus meant when he said, John 10:10 (NIV) I came that they may have life and have it to the full. The Old Testament affirmed the same thing, Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) … the joy of the LORD is your strength. When the soul/spirit (inner person) is fed, it becomes strong!  

Unfortunately, many through neglect fail to hear God’s voice and the result is this, John 15:6 (NIV) If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers … May you not allow your inner life to wither. This isn’t God’s desire for you at all!  

Here’s one more story that illustrates the blessing of hearing God’s voice, from Pastor Ray Duerksen:   “The day before Fran had one of her brain surgeries, we were both feeling some pressure, knowing that humanly speaking this was the end of the road. We also felt particularly alone...not the loneliness of human touch, but the simple need to be assured of Gods love. At supper time we quietly walked to a food court building on the great Penn State campus and chose, as we so often do, pizza. In the center was a juke box (look it up! It was like a public version of Spotify, years ago) which would automatically select and play a tune every 15 minutes in order to entice paying customers to select tunes also. As we waited in line to receive our pizza the music box came to life and in that large secular setting played Jesus Loves Me.And as it did, the Holy Spirit sent us what I can only describe as waves of liquid love.It continued for approximately 15-20 minutes until I whispered, Please hold back, I cant take any more in public,because I was so moved to quiet sobs. After I gained my composure, I finished my pizza. Then Fran and I went over to the juke box to find that song. And guess what? Though we both checked it, neither of us could find the song listed! That’s because God will find ways to bring life to his kids!”  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

You can skip ahead to the Life Application section for today.  

Life Application (James 1:22)

Step 1: Carefully and prayerfully read (reflect or meditate) Psalm 121 – take your time.

Step 2: Select a word, phrase or verse that seemed to ‘draw you’ to it.

a. Other ways of saying this includes:

• It seemed to stick out to you

• It caught your attention

b. You may have had an impression in the very first verse or two; perhaps in the middle or the end.

c. Whatever the impression was, write that word, phrase of verse down in your journal.

d. Or perhaps a thought came to you because of the word, phrase or verse you read.

• A specific ‘word’ of encouragement for something in your life

• A piece of wisdom you need for something in your life

• A promise for you at this time

• A rebuke for something

• A warning

• A blessing

e. Then write this down!

f. Why do you write these impressions, ‘words,’ thoughts or pictures down? In order to focus your thoughts, so that your mind doesn’t wander. Once you have written down the word, phrase or verse that stood out to you, WRITE the letter “G:” in front of it. Remember: “G” stands for God.

g. That impression or thought that stood out to you as you read was the whisper of God’s voice! You heard it! If you had a ‘word’ or picture in your mind, that too was his voice. On the next line, write down the initial of your first name (E.g. J for John or R for Rachel).

h. Next to your initial, write out a question you have about the word, phrase or verse you wrote down. You could also write a comment. You’re speaking back to God about what you heard. A question or comment is part of normal conversation. There is no right or wrong in this, so ask away! Or tell God something about this!

i. Next, wait for a response from the Lord. It will make sense for the context of your question or comment. Again, place a “G” before it. And then, placing your initial on the page, continue with another question or comment.

j. Keep the conversation going.  

Bible Reading

1. Today’s Bible reading has been moved to Day 6. Enjoy! It is a powerful passage!  

Day 6 Final Steps

1. Please read Matthew 10 (it’s a longer section today, but it is best done in one sitting).

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you. 3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

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